Foremost Insurance Co. v. Richardson,
457 U.S. 668 (1982)JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion
of the Court.The issue presented in this case is whether
the collision of two pleasure boats on navigable
waters falls within the admiralty jurisdiction of
the federal courts. We granted certiorari to resolve the confusion in the lower courts respecting the impact of Executive Jet Aviation, Inc. v.
City of Cleveland, 409 U.S. 249 ( 1972) ( Executive Jet), on traditional rules for determining
federal admiralty jurisdiction. The United
States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
held that an accident between two vessels in
navigable waters bears a sufficient relationship
to traditional maritime activity to fall within federal admiralty jurisdiction. We affirm.
I.Two pleasure boats collided on the Amite
River in Louisiana, resulting in the death of Clyde Richardson. The wife and children of the
decedent brought this action in the United
States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, alleging inter alia that petitioner Shirley Eliser had negligently operated the boat
that collided with the vessel occupied by the
decedent. Respondents also named petitioner Foremost Insurance Company, Eliser's insurer,
as a defendant. Jurisdiction was claimed under 28 U.S. Code, sec. 1333(1), which gives federal
district courts exclusive jurisdiction over "[a]ny
civil case of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction."
Petitioners moved to dismiss, arguing that the
complaint did not state a cause of action within
the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the
District Court.In ruling on petitioners' motion, the District
Court found the following facts to be undisputed:
|(1) One boat was used for pleasure boating, such as
boat riding and water skiing, and at the time of the
accident the boat was actually pulling a skier on a
|(2) The other boat was used exclusively for pleasure
fishing and was described as a bass boat;|
|(3) Neither boat had ever been used in any "commercial maritime activity" before the accident;|
|(4) At the time of the accident neither boat was in|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Marine and Coastal Law:Cases and Materials.
Contributors: Dennis W. Nixon - Author.
Publisher: Praeger Publishers.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1994.
Page number: 265.
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